How we Measure Progress


I belong to a pro-ana Facebook group. Give or take a few girls leaving for recovery, the same 50 girls have belonged to the group for over 2 years. One of my best friends there asked how I was doing because I hadn’t posted in a while. I told them about school, coming out, and my weight. The overwhelming response?

“WOW, you’re doing so well!”

Not surprising from a bunch of eating disordered girls. But it got me thinking about priorities. Is this, our weight, really the most important measure of our worth or success? I would like to say no.Fringe_its all just nubmers

It makes me sad that we put so much emphasis on our appearance. Let’s see… I almost killed myself more than once last semester, I cried – a lot, I was almost involuntarily hospitalized, I barely passed my classes, I rarely attended class or read material, and I lost my scholarship…but WOW, you lost a lot of weight in an unhealthy amount of time!!

Why does it always have to be about looks

Maybe it is because we hate everything about ourselves and our weight is at least something we can change, whereas other things are relatively immutable like intelligence.

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Art Therapy


I tried looking for my Affirmation Book (at the end of inpatient, everyone got a small journal where patients and staff wrote well wishes and encouragement) last night, instead I found a stash of art therapy pieces. In some ways, not much changed over the past 6 years. I still suck at art and I still feel the same way about myself.

This the battle for recovery symbolized by two stick figures playing tug-of-war. And look! I’m winning!

art therapy

This is the cyclone of emotions and thoughts that I used my eating disorder to silence.

MM art ed11MM art ed8MM art ed9MM art ed7

This represents my identity; without my eating disorder I am no one/nothing/nobody.

MM art ed10

This is the program for an impromptu talent show we put on. Surprisingly, they let a few of the girls do a short gymnastics routine and they did not supplement them for the lost calories. Usually, they were very strict about movement. If you were redirected more than twice about frequently shaking your leg, sitting up too straight, etc., they gave you 60 CCs Ensure.

MM art ed1

For the 4th of July we had an extra Nutrition Group, yay! The topic was managing recovery around the holidays. I also wrote some notes from my dietician. According to her, I disliked eating because it meant being around family. Oh, treatment teams and their propensity to blame others, especially family, for mental health problems!

Firefly_Saffron eye roll

Photo_00023

Since we weren’t allowed books, magazines, TV, radio, etc., the only things we were allowed to do when not in groups was make up silly things like the following words set to The Twelve Days of Christmas, color on Disney coloring pages the nurses printed for us, and make friendship bracelets.

MM art ed6 MM art ed4 MM art ed3

All the help I got for discharge meal planning! Haha, it didn’t matter because I went straight to PHP, but they didn’t know what my discharge plans were until the day before I left because some people thought I should stay longer.

MM art ed2

Um…I’m not sure what this is! I think it represents the confusion and chaos created by emotions.

emotions

Lol, I have no idea what the shriveled, psychedelic Eye of Sauron, afflicted with pink eye, floating on its side means!

eye

This looks like pure boredom, not an assignment. I see a green balloon that says “Happy Birthday” (I spent my 18th birthday in treatment). I also see an unhappy purple ghost (A Monster? That one purple gaseous Pokémon? Something else?)

bday

Who the hell is Stella?!?! In case you haven’t noticed, I’m not much of an artist! :p I doubt I drew this.

stella